Throughout life I have been blessed to have all my grandparents play an irreplaceable role on my journey. And I have been even more blessed to have grandparents to walk beside me who also walk beside Christ.
In 2009 I spent the days and hours leading up to my grandpa's passing at his bedside, mostly listening to stories and laughing, and of course some crying.
Then one year ago today I sat beside my grandma and held her hand as she was ushered into Heaven.
Somehow they have taught me through death just as they taught me through life, and I am so thankful that God blessed me with the opportunity to be there in those moments.
My remaining grandparents live in Colorado, and through the last year especially, it has been hard to be so far away.
Last August my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery to remove the large lump that was found, as well as several lymph nodes that were also cancerous. Although her outlook was grim, she has been doing surprisingly well, no doubt thanks to the prayers surrounding her.
The last ten months have been a rollercoaster ride for my family and my grandma's health, but through it all my grandpa has been an example of Christ's strength and compassion for his wife of 65 years.
Then last month the results from a routine procedure shocked us all.
My grandpa was diagnosed with colon and stomach cancer. We don't know exactly how advanced it is, and he has chosen to not have surgery in order to maintain his quality of life as long as possible.
I talked to him on the phone a few days after the diagnosis, half expectant to hear a disheartened voice on the other line. As soon as I heard his beaming "Hello!" I couldn't help but cry.
It was the happiest hello I have ever heard in my life....half giggle really.
Only in Christ. That's the only explanation for the joy I heard on the other line.
So, through simple hellos, they are still teaching me.
This summer I have decided that I need to absorb as much wisdom from them as possible. God has changed my plans around, because I believe he wants me to spend some precious time with my grandparents.
I have handed over my responsibilities at Youth for Christ for the summer, and put some hopeful Zimbabwe (travel) plans on hold. It has has not been the easy thing to do in a lot of ways, but at the same time the decision was easy.
As soon as summer school is over I will be on a plane to Colorado, where I will have many more hellos, and many precious moments to hold hands with wisdom.